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Our green university

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is key to carbon reduction on-site. A long term programme of work to improve the energy efficiency of our facilities has been implemented.

Energy efficiency certificates for our buildings:

Waste and recycling

With over 6,500 students and 600 members of staff, York St John makes a significant impact on the City's environment. The Energy and Environmental team is committed to leading York St John in managing and reducing this impact.

Zero Waste to Landfill

All waste produced by York St John is diverted from landfill. The waste is segregated into recyclables, which is reused as a commodity, and general waste which is processed to create Refuse Derived Fuel and disposed of at Ferry Bridge Power station to generate energy.

Food Waste

Lord Mayor's Walk and off-campus residence food waste is sent to the Maltings Organic plant in South Milford, where it is converted into electricity and, as a by-product, low-carbon fertiliser which is sold locally. 

Green Waste

Green waste from all of our sites is recycled either by our Grounds Team on site or by Biffa who dispose of the waste at Harewood Whin. There it is processed to create compost which is sold locally.

Battery recycling

Batteries are also separated for recycling in bins dotted around the campus. A large battery recycling bin can be found at the Porters Lodge.

Our catering

We are committed to sustainability and ethical sourcing. We have a range of parternships and projects underway. 

All fish sourced is accredited with the MSC label. The Marine Stewardship Council fights to end overfishing and protect ocean life, setting the standard for sustainable fishing. The MSC label means that seafood is safe and can be traced back to a sustainable source. To learn more about all the great work that MSC do in protecting the oceans, please visit the official MSC website.

All meat and animal-produced products sold and used in our recipes are Red Tractor certified. What does this mean? Well, the certification is assurance that food is traceable, safe and farmed with care. In addition, all eggs have the British Lion Egg accreditation. Eggs that carry the British Lion mark have been produced under the stringent requirements of the British Lion Code of Practice which ensures the highest standards of food safety. The code covers the entire production chain and ensures strict food safety controls including the guarantee that all hens are vaccinated against Salmonella and a ‘passport’ system ensuring that all hens, eggs and feed are fully traceable (

Meat is sourced from Birtwistles Catering Butchers. Birtwistles is not only Red Tractor Certified, but also RSPCA assured, EEC/FSA licensed, STS certified and fully traceable. We use ethically sourced poultry for our Yardbird menu, that is from reputable farms with full traceability from farm to fork. To find out more, please visit the Birtwistles websites.

In a time of perceived perfection, often the tastiest and most interesting fresh produce is cast aside and deemed unfit. In fact, over 30% of UK crops never leave the farm and 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted every year!

With this is mind, Sodexo's Wasteful to Tasteful initiative is helping to rescue the Grade B fruit and vegetables that would otherwise be sent to landfill, known as ‘wonky’ fruit or vegetables. Together with Ferryfast, a cooperative of farmers in Worcestershire, Sodexo supplies units with boxes of rescued produce to use in innovative ways and promote the power of plants.

Each week, Sodexo at York St John University receives a box of in-season wonky fruit and vegetables to use in our recipes. If a recipe includes any of the fruit or vegetables it will be labelled on the daily menu with a ‘Better Tomorrow’ logo. In a recent 2019 report, Sodexo had saved over 26 tonnes of food waste from going to landfill within the UK!

We are committed to supporting Fairtrade as much as possible. Our outlets include Aspretto – Sodexo’s exclusively Fairtrade brand. Aspretto serves a range of Fairtrade hot drinks, including triple accredited coffee that is not only Fairtrade and Rainforest alliance endorsed but also organic. Every coffee and tea served is fully traceable back to its origin. Jacksons tea and hot chocolate, as well as sugar and syrups are all also ethically sourced natural products. Buy a bar of Divine chocolate with your coffee - the only chocolate company that is owned by cocoa farmers!

Every February and March, we celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight with several diferent events including freebies and samples, fun games, visits from local Fairtrade businesses and petition signing. 

Stop Hunger is a Sodexo initiative active in over 40 countries around the world. In the UK and Ireland, we work with charities to donate time, skills and money to tackle hunger, support good nutrition and promote life skills in local communities.

Stop Hunger supports a variety of charities across the UK and Ireland that help to tackle hunger and malnutrition, either through directly feeding vulnerable people, delivering education or providing skills training that equip individuals to improve their overall wellbeing and eating habits. Stop Hunger's main partners are Trussell Trust and Fareshare:

  • Trussell Trust aim to end hunger and poverty in the UK. It supports a nationwide network of foodbanks, providing emergency food and support and campaigns for change to end the need for foodbanks in the UK.
  • Fareshare redistributes surplus food that would otherwise go to waste, to charities that turn it into meals.

Our team gets involved in fundraising throughout the year for Stop Hunger; through bake sales, competitions food collections and sponsorship activities, as well as volunteering at local foodbanks. To find out more about how our team is involved, and how you can be too, please visit our social media pages! In 2018/19 we raised £1024 for the charity.

There is now a 20p charge for all takeaway disposable containers in our efforts to reduce the amount of waste being produced on campus! There are several ways to avoid this charge:

  • Eat in and use our china plates and bowls.
  • Bring in your own reusable container.
  • Take part in our Eco To Go scheme. How it works is simple - take a container, fill with food and return after use. When returned, containers can be replaced with a clean one to take food again, or a token to use at a later date. A £5 joining fee is required, please speak to a member of the catering team at City Social if you are interested in joining.

Do not forget to pick up a loyalty card to recieve 50% after your 16th meal using a reusable container!

In addition, we have also removed or replaced all plastic straws, plastic cups, plastic cutlery and cake bags at our outlets to reduce the amount single-use plastic waste being sent to landfill.

City Kitchen have joined the Too Good To Go app, to reduce the amount of food waste we create. Did you know that food waste is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions?

Download the app on the App Store or Google Play now, to reserve your magic bag on surplus food at a heavily discounted price. Food is available every weekday at the end of lunch service in City Social.

The crisp packet recycling box is located in City Social, Holgate Dining Room. The empty crisp packets are sent to Terracycle who melt the packets into plastic pellets to make new recycled products. New collection boxes will be added to our outlets during the winter term. To see what waste is acceptable, please read the front of the collection boxes.

You can pick up a loyalty card from any of our campus outlets - this entitles you to a free hot drink on your tenth hot drink purchase, ensuring you use a re-usable cup each time! Simply give your card to a Sodexo team member at the till each time to receive a stamp.

Also, remember to bring your reusable to cup to campus to get your tea or coffee 20p cheaper! 

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